4. Accordingly, the scope of the current agriculture program of the country needs to be expanded and its fisheries component strengthened. Fisheries mariculture and aquaculture farming is agriculture-based and will assume a greater role for the future food security of the country as populations rapidly expand and the fisheries wild resource base is unsustainably strained to feed a growing population. Furthermore, the fisheries component of agriculture must include marine environmental protection (MEP) mechanisms based on sound marine scientific research (MSR), awareness and training activities to achieve program coherence, cogent direction, and desired sustainability. Further, noting the wide uses of the ocean and its resources, there is also the need for a wider scope approach to integrate other ocean-oriented livelihood activities such as island and river cruise tourism, sports fishing, diving and beach resorts to accommodate and maximize the benefits of the oceans for all stakeholders, whether for livelihood or recreation.
5. An expanded agro-fisheries program as above laid out would then address sustainable renewable resource management and farming from the highlands, through to the lowlands, coastal areas, mangroves and to sea farming to result in a comprehensive resource-based sustainable management program which would be the ideal fully inclusive agricultural livelihood framework for the Philippines archipelago, and address its food security requirements. A holistic, seamless and balanced development of all aspects of agriculture would serve as a social safety net providing for alternative livelihoods for the population of the archipelago in the event of production deficiencies and disasters which can happen between land-based and marine-based aspects of agriculture. The foregoing inclusive approach, integrating territorial and marine components, is not only essential as far as the archipelago configuration of the Philippines dictates, but most responsive to the food security socio-economic governance pillar of the Government under the (1987) Constitution. In essence, the foregoing describes Integrated Coastal Resource Management, ICZM, that would optimize agro-fisheries in an archipelago. Why ICZM for archipelagic Philippines . . . a blueprint for blue economy
6. Firstly, a general understanding of the ICZM concept and why it is perfectly suited for implementation and adaptation in archipelagic Philippines. The general concept is about management of the interaction between land and sea… “where terrestrial processes and land uses directly affect oceanic processes and uses, and vice versa (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_coastal_zone_management). Formal definitions of ICZM follows :
• Knecht and Archer (1993): “A dynamic and continuous process of administering the use, development and protection of the coastal zone and its resources toward common objectives of national and local authorities and the aspiration of different resource user groups”
• Sorenson, (1993): “Integrated management provides policy direction and a process for defining objectives and priorities and planning development beyond sectoral activities. It adopts a systems perspective and multi-sectoral approach which takes into account all sectoral interests and stakeholder interests, and deals with economic and social issues as well as environmental and economic issues”. (Source: http://www.heritagecouncil.com)
The ICZM concept is already a matured program first conceived in the early 1970’s. As can be seen, in no other geological configuration would land/sea interaction be more acute than in an archipelago. Leading archipelago nations that have adopted and developed the scheme are New Zealand and Norway; while Ireland is work in progress. Examples of non-archipelago nations that are implementing the ICZM scheme are India, Bangladesh, Kenya.
7. It is said, however, that definitions of ICZM can vary depending on the localized “target territory”, but among principal elements of an ICZM program would be:
• Adopting a wide ranging view of inter-related problems;
• Decision making based on good data and information;
• Working with natural forces; • Involving all stakeholders and all relevant parts of the administration;
• Using a range of instruments (laws, plans, economic instruments, information campaigns, Local Agenda 21s, voluntary agreements, promotion of good practices, etc.) for coastal management. (Source: http://www.heritagecouncil.com) The “integrated” or inclusive aspect of the scheme gleaned from above, makes for the appropriate ocean governance modality for archipelagic Philippines providing coherence in the local (LGU’s), regional (RDC’s) and national context.
8. This is not to say that there is no integrated coastal management effort or awareness in the Philippines. Eight years ago President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 533 dated June 6, 2006 entitled Integrated Coastal Management Policy, or ICM. The general policy statement, which captures the essential elements above, follows; “The ICM and related approaches, such as coastal resource management or coastal zone management, shall be the national management policy framework to promote the sustainable development of the country’s coastal and marine environment and resources in order to achieve food security, sustainable livelihood, poverty alleviation and reduction of vulnerability to natural hazards, while preserving ecological integrity.” A year later, the DENR and DA/BFAR, together with eight (8) partner provinces and eighty (80) municipalities all over the country, launched the Integrated Coastal Resource Management Project (ICRMP), which is considered as a “related approach” to ICM, that includes Region III in its area coverage. The project duration was 28 June 2007 to 20 June 2013.
[The PAFI Ambassadors’ Corner column will continue to run parts of the entire 4000-plus word policy paper written by former Ambassador Alberto A. Encomienda every Saturday until January 3, 2015. The paper is, in the author’s words,” a management program for fisheries resources and protection of the marine environment in the Philippines archipelago; a start-up Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) proposition for Region III focused on coastal communities livelihood.”